Monthly Archives: June 2012

Another step towards International Patent Protection

Below I have included the latest from USPTO Director’s Forum Blog.

  • What is the overriding undercurrent that is prompting these actions?
  • One could simply say “globalization” has changed the landscape. Globalization has changed the way products are introduced into the market place significantly; so we must change IP protection to keep up with the world market that has been created.

Or could there be something else?

Paving the Way Toward the Unitary Patent

Thanks to the tireless efforts of our colleagues in the European Union, and the leadership of Denmark, the last remaining obstacle to the Unitary European Patent System has been removed. Under the new system, innovators will be able to obtain patent protection and enforce patent rights in Europe at lower cost and with greater certainty, creating an optimal environment for growing innovation-based businesses and jobs. I applaud the tireless work of the European Union, and its members, in working toward this unified system—an important step in empowering innovators to compete in the global marketplace.

Coming on the heels of the 2011 America Invents Act, which is substantially revamping our own patent system and infrastructure, the Unitary Patent System will also bring greater harmony between American and European patent laws, improving trans-Atlantic trade, enhancing collaboration between our patent offices, and providing a more consistent global marketplace. This is an important milestone of which Europeans should be justifiably proud.”

We are constantly being told, when something in the economic climate changes, is to follow the money.

So I bring this up for debate, why the changes to America Invents Act and the EU Unitary Patent System?

Who do these changes benefit the most?    How do we follow the money?


International IP Protection takes a Giant Step Forward

A Milestone In Protecting Creative Content Around the World

In a landmark development for the multilateral intellectual property (IP) system, United States Patent and Trademark Office officials joined with other U.S. government negotiators at a diplomatic conference meeting in Beijing June 20-26, shepherding to completion a treaty that will strengthen the rights of film and television actors around the world. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Audiovisual Performances (AVP) Treaty, or the “Beijing Treaty,” is the first successful example of international norm-setting in the copyright area in more than fifteen years, and represents a major stride for the global recognition of IP rights in an increasingly digital world. It is also a tribute to the persistence and skill of U.S. negotiators, who have pursued an agreement since 2000, when a diplomatic conference on the treaty was suspended.

The Road to Beijing

Actors, singers, musicians, and dancers have historically enjoyed limited international protection for their performances recorded in audiovisual productions. The 1996 diplomatic conference (Dipcon) that adopted the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty updated standards of protection for recording artists and record producers, particularly in the digital environment. Unfortunately, an agreement could not be reached on how to protect audiovisual performances at the international level. The stumbling block was the wide diversity of national laws from country to country.

A breakthrough to the stalemate occurred in 2010, when the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR) invited Member States to submit proposals for a transfer of rights provision that would be sufficiently flexible to adapt to different national laws and thus pave the way for the conclusion of a treaty. With substantial input from the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), the United States submitted a proposal, and then worked with other delegations that had submitted proposals (Mexico, India) as well as with delegations from other major film-producing jurisdictions (particularly the European Union, Brazil and Nigeria) to find compromise language. Once agreement was reached and the compromise language approved by the SCCR in June 2011, the WIPO General Assembly voted to hold a diplomatic conference to complete the treaty.

The Chinese government offered to host the diplomatic conference in Beijing—a step supported by the United States as a means to strengthen China’s commitment to copyright. Members elected Liu Binjie, minister of the National Copyright Administration of China and president of the General Administration of Press and Publications, to be president of the conference.

Significance of the Beijing Treaty

The “Beijing Treaty” will strengthen the precarious position of performers in the audiovisual industry by providing a clearer international legal framework for their protection, particularly for performances that take place in the digital environment.

For American actors—represented by SAG and AFTRA—the treaty will increase global protection for performers and bring other countries legal norms into line with U.S. standards. It will not disrupt American motion picture companies’ global distribution networks. It represents a win-win for labor and industry, allowing them to work even more closely in fighting global piracy. Ratification by the United States and key trading partners will also give American stakeholders another mechanism to promote protection of the intellectual property in their films.

Our thanks and congratulations go out to the USPTO team, the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Copyright Office, and our entire U.S. delegation for their hard work in advancing the rights of American performers—and setting the stage for a more global framework in protecting intellectual property rights in the 21st century.

Inventing and Innovation at work with the IMI from the U.S. DoE

RTI International Awarded Grant to Develop Energy-Efficient Water Treatment Technology with Veolia, Duke.

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — RTI International has been awarded a grant under the Innovative Manufacturing Initiative of the U.S. Department of Energy to develop a new process technology that will improve the energy efficiency associated with industrial water treatment in the U.S. manufacturing sector.

Under the $4.8 million grant, researchers at RTI, in partnership with industrial partner Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies North America, Inc., and Duke University, will develop an advanced, hybrid membrane system, which will capture waste heat from industrial processes to treat wastewater. The new technology is applicable to a wide range of industries, such as power generation, refining and chemical sectors.

Enormous amounts of heat are generated throughout industrial processes, but most of the heat is wasted. RTI’s unique technology focuses on simultaneously capturing and using this waste heat and improving industrial water reuse efficiency.

“We are proud to be part of this national research initiative to solve core technology challenges facing industry,” saidWayne Holden, president and CEO of RTI. “This technology has the potential to reduce industrial energy and water consumption, lessen the environmental impacts associated with industrial operations, and stimulate the creation of other new technologies.”

Initial estimates indicate that the technology could provide up to a 91 percent reduction in electricity consumption, up to a 34 percent reduction in water usage, and up to a 94 percent reduction in water discharges in comparison to conventional approaches to industrial water treatment and reuse. The technology could also eliminate the significant greenhouse gas emissions associated with conventional aerobic biological water treatment.

“This really is a collaborative effort between RTI and our research partners,” said James Cunningham, Ph.D., senior research engineer and project director for RTI. “We will be combining Duke and RTI’s expertise in environmental science, process engineering and technology development and applying it in a novel way to solve an industrial challenge.”

“The involvement of our commercial partner Veolia, a global leader for industrial water treatment technologies, will help guide this focused technology development and provide a clear path to commercialize the technology,” said Markus Lesemann, director for business development at RTI.

The three-year project will eventually demonstrate the technology at prototype scale in an industrial wastewater treatment setting.

The award is part of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Innovative Manufacturing Initiative, administered by the Advanced Manufacturing Office in DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy program. This program supports research efforts that seek to solve core technical problems facing industry and that will result in significant improvements in energy productivity, environmental performance, product yield and economic benefits.

Micro Entity Provision for Paying Discounted Patent Fees

USPTO Issues Proposed Rules to Implement the Micro Entity Provision for Paying Discounted Patent Fees

The USPTO has published proposed rules related to micro entity provisions in the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act. Smaller innovators qualifying for micro entity status receive a 75 percent discount on patent fees. The micro entity proposed rules were published in the Federal Register on May 30, starting a sixty-day public comment period. Read more about it in our press release.